25 December, 2013

Christmas Day Google Doodle: That "Mystery City" Is Probably NYC

Okay, so it's officially 12:44 AM Christmas Day in my gorgeous home town of Mission Viejo, California, where it can be Christmas and yet still 80 degrees outside. I, of course, am in my room typing away so as not to get spoiled by going downstairs... Anyhow, exactly 45 minutes ago, I pulled up the iOS search app and noticed that the Google Doodle with "Happy Holidays" as its message had changed. The doodle yesterday -- that little one with the horse-drawn sled in it -- was replaced by one, seen below as a cropped screenshot of the iOS search app mentioned above, which depicts what people are calling a "mystery city". However, there's some obvious details in it that definitely are clues as to what this might be about.

One of the most obvious details is this is a bustling city indeed. That's a given. But if you look closely at the bottom center of the city in the doodle, one of the first things you'll notice is there's a large transit bus, traveling beside which is a police squad car, and oncoming, in the opposite direction, is a taxi. Now pause for a second. Isn't the Big Apple notorious for having two taxis for every personally-owned car on the streets? I know, because I've been there. Not since April 2001, of course... but I have. Not to mention that they also have a boatload of transit buses, hundreds of times more than the OCTA. What's to the right of the taxi, however, and this is where it really gets crazy, is a giant Christmas tree, and to the right and above that Christmas tree, is that blank red sign with white lights circling it, suggesting a theater. Let's get back to that in a moment.

See, Google tends to have a habit of using those little cartoonish pics for muckraking purposes. Just a few months ago, during the government shutdown, Google showcased a doodle about Yosemite National Park. Remember that one of the agencies affected by the shutdown, whose total closure raised a lot of eyebrows, was the National Park Service, and on top of that, the 123rd anniversary of Yosemite's opening happened to be during the shutdown. Also, remember the Google logo with the black censor bar smacked on top of it (which definitely was a doodle-like pic as well) that was used to make a point about SOPA during the days when it was circling around in Congress? About the extent that it would go to create a culture of Internet censorship in the United States? Yup, we all remember that too.

Just a few days ago, however, we heard about yet another controversy going on, this time involving Rockefeller Center (remember that light-circled theater sign and giant Christmas tree mentioned in an earlier paragraph?) and its infamous ice skating rink. A man by the name of Paul Chernosky has played the "Skating Santa" that millions have skated with on the rink for a good 15 years. This year, however, Rockefeller Center got sold to one property management company by another. The result? Patina Group, the property management company on the buying end of the deal, laid off Chernosky, sparking a boatload of controversy around those New York locals that were used to seeing him for so long, and even inspired him to start a petition on Change.org to persuade the guys at Patina Group to rethink their decision.

That's precisely what this doodle seems to indicate. Hopefully this will indeed call more people to action... and oh, yeah, hopefully it'll get Paul more petition signatures which would be amazing, or at the very least more exposure, which would in turn lead to more petition signatures. Anyhow, Merry Christmas to all my G+ and blogger fans, and I hope you all can rejoice knowing what kind of change even the billionaires at Google are willing to root for.